Who Can Sign - For partnerships, only general partners can sign a contract, not a limited partner. For LLC's, a managing member or a hired manager can sign. For corporations, the company's president or chief executive officer is presumed to have the authority to sign. For an organization or association, a board president would have the authority, but may require a vote of the governing board to approve the deal.
Legal Contracts - Under state laws, only a few category of contracts must be in writing, such as a mortgage contract or contracts covering more than a year. It's still a good idea, however, to have a written agreement for business transactions beyond an ordinary sale of goods. There is no law requiring a lawyer to write your contract. If the transaction is relatively simple, the contract can also be simple. But you also have to pay attention to certain details to avoid issues arising later.